Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, met with Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, to clarify some ambiguities in the execution of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021.
Following the passing of PIA, Adebayo, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr Evelyn Ngige, said the meeting was called to examine important problems relating to the use of legal metrology, or Weights and Measures, in the oil and gas sector.
He expressed concern that, following the PIA’s passage and assent, some private entities unfamiliar with the functions of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITIWeights )’s and Measures Department have incorrectly concluded that the Department has no further role to play in the oil and gas sector.
He also reported that some Petroleum retail stores, with the help of their associations, had threatened Department Inspectors and attempted to stop Department employees from entering their premises to carry out their statutory function of equipment inspection.
The Weights and Measures Department’s duty in the gas and oil industry, according to Adebayo, is to certify and verify the instruments used in distributing Oil and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), such as flow metre pumps, dipping sticks, scales, and gas skid dispensers.
The minister said that his ministry’s Weight and Measures Department is also in charge of granting Initial Verification Certificates, re-verification certificates, and pattern approvals for equipment used in dispensing Oil and LPG at outlets.
“It should be noted that by virtue of their Testamur Certification, which is a requirement set by the Weights and Measures Act CAP W3 LFN,2004 for officers engaged to perform legal metrology duties, only Inspectors of the Weights and Measures Department in the country can perform these duties,” he said.
“In our opinion, the relevant section of the PIA on which these private bodies are relying has only given the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority(NMDPRA) regulatory power in the oil and gas sector; however, the power to certify and verify the instruments used for dispensing petroleum products remains sacrosanct within the purview of the Department, which is why the Weights and Measures Act has not been repealed.”
In essence, the overarching goal is to assure justice, precision, and fairness in trade by implementing legal metrology and conducting weighing and measuring activities in all organisations and premises that utilise weighing and measuring equipment for trade, as is the current practise worldwide.”
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Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, said the meeting would be expanded to include other stakeholders due to the important nature of the matter.
Sylva, who was represented by Dr Bello Aliyu Gusau, Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), expressed optimism that the grey areas in the execution of PIA would be thoroughly explored and resolved.